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In 2014, a home reconstruction program called “Dream home” was launched in China, inviting architects and interior designers to redesign some old houses that have problems. Some of these homes are oddly shaped, some are tiny, and yet others have extremely inadequate lighting. The design concepts conveyed by the designers together in this program are respect for people, understanding human relationships, and the definition of home. These renovations or reconstructions are not just home updates for clients, but a reinterpretation of “home” that gives them a new life with dignity.
A Home in the Gap / Pingyuan Design
This house is a three-story old house surviving in the cracks of Sichuan North Road in Hongkou, Shanghai. The neighbor’s outer wall encloses this house in the gap. The client has hemophilia and is paralyzed in both legs. He lives with his parents, wife, and son. At the same time, the neighbor in the same building is the client’s cousin, who has a strained relationship with him.
The first-floor entry door was divided into two, entirely separating the two areas, and each of the two families has their staircase, solving the problem of overlapping movement lines caused by two families sharing one entrance and the first-floor staircase.
For the sake of the clients with mobility issues, a tiny elevator was added to the tight space, and eventually, the whole house was divided vertically into three parts: on the west side is the transportation space with an elevator and stairs; in the middle part, the kitchen is on the first floor and a bathroom on each of the second and third floors; on the east side is the living space. The top of the third floor was primarily converted to a skylight to improve light. And the through-height patio was set on the north side to increase light and ventilation.
A Home in the Wonton Restaurant / GOODLINKS Design
The Meng Hua Street Wonton Restaurant is in an old building on Meng Hua Street in Shanghai’s Huangpu District. The house is divided into two sections, one of which is occupied by the client: the two floors plus the attic total fewer than 24 square meters. The first floor is used for running the restaurant; the second floor and the attic are used for residence.
The 6.8-meter-high floor was redistributed into three stories to accommodate this family’s commercial and residential needs, each of which performs a distinct function during and after work hours. The first floor serves as a kitchen for the wonton store and a small amount of seating for guests. It is the family’s kitchen and dining room after business hours; the second floor serves as a living room, bedroom, and business with movable furniture; and the third floor serves as an ingredients preparation area, lounging area, and sleeping area.
Although the designer initially attempted to convince the client to utilize the house only for the restaurant, the client’s needs eventually took precedence, and the limited space performed a dual function during its transition.
A Home Like A Rockery / Atelier Deshaus
This oddly shaped house is located in a foreign-style house in Shanghai’s French Concession. The client’s family owns the top four levels with a total height of 4 meters; each floor is approximately 6-7 square meters on average, and each floor plan is unique in shape and size. Six ladders connect the top and bottom levels, all of which are nearly 90 degrees. The entire house measures 35 square meters, making it cramped and difficult to navigate, walking inside is like strolling through a Rockery.
The four sides of the house are basically empty above two floors. Therefore, borrowing the outdoor space by opening more windows during the reconstruction and pulling people’s field of view from inside to the outside to expand the sense of extension of the indoor space.To enhance the strolling experience through “the rockery,” the stairs on each level were reorganized at a 45-degree angle. Additionally, numerous half levels were constructed to maximize the available area.
For illumination and ventilation, two inner courtyard-like patios were constructed in combination with the roof staircase, one of which is significantly bigger, providing access to the roof garden from the patio’s stairway as well as illumination and ventilation for the space inside the water tank.
A Home Like A Passageway / B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio
The long, thin L-shaped house is sandwiched between an old hutong wall and the facade of a two-story structure in Beijing’s Dongcheng District. It houses three generations of six people. Each room of the house is strung together like a railway carriage, with natural light reaching just the rooms at each end for a brief period.
Address the lack of natural light by installing 40cm-wide strip skylights on the roof and a transparent glass facade. Due to the ease of access, the side along the hutong’s outside wall was left as a passageway connecting the various functional spaces as they pass through. On the first floor, several wooden houses of varying heights are formed in response to the family’s activity heights in various functional spaces; on the second floor, the children’s space becomes another continuous cascading space in response to the undulation in height, creating a playground for the two children.
The backyard gate is constructed of a wooden frame and translucent glass that can be opened completely. It allows for airflow while bringing the courtyard vista indoors. Human activities can take place concurrently in the courtyard, and the inside and exterior are linked and merged with nature.
A Home in A Paper-like Building/ Pingyuan Design
The project is positioned on the top floor of a “paper-like” structure in Shanghai’s Huangpu District. It has an overall triangle shape and a total area of 25 square meters, with the broadest section being 6 meters and the most minor section measuring barely 0.2 meters. Additionally, the rooms in the house are composed of large and tiny triangles, making it hard to utilize sharp edges throughout the structure.
Through a variety of approaches, the refurbishment maximized the use of space in the sharp corners. The attic’s west wall was shifted inward, smoothing the room’s design, removing sharp corners, and decreasing the wall from west to east by a full meter. A large terrace area was retained; the enclosed triangular storage room was turned into a tiny balcony; the toilet tank was sandwiched in the bathroom. Additionally, triangular shelves can be employed to help organize the space. Finally, triangular furniture can be utilized to maximize space.
The original 90-degree ascending ladder leading to the attic was replaced with a space-saving steel staircase, and the first floor and attic floor heights were rearranged.
An Unabandoned Home / INSPIRATION GROUP
The project is a century-old house in Guangzhou’s ancient Xiguan area, where three generations of the family dwelling. Even though living in this 17-meter-high, three-and-a-half-story old house in disrepair presents numerous obstacles and safety hazards, the family of the client has always clung to this property.
The walls on both sides are shared with the neighbors in the old Xiguan area. That is the nature in here. As a result, the designers elected to reinforce the structure by installing a separate “birdcage”-style steel framework within the building’s exterior walls. Prior to that, the designer employed a raft foundation to reinforce it and ensure that it could support the entire construction. The three-and-a-half-story house was transformed into a five-story structure with three apertures for increased light and ventilation.
Some of the original furniture from the original home is also incorporated into the new home’s design, and the rehabilitation of the old house serves as a continuation of the memories.
A Home on the Cliff / Vector Architects
The project is located in Lianjiang County, Fujian Province, at the northeast tip of the Huangqi Peninsula. Half of the modest two-story structure is perched on the coast’s reef, and the construction has been extensively eroded over the years by sea, wind, and rain.
The space was reorganized much in accordance with the original layout, with toilets relocated to ensure that each room has the best possible view of the ocean. The windows were increased in size. Furthermore, a system of concrete window casings was installed to insulate rainwater flowing along the external walls. The addition’s third story is arched to allow roof drainage, and the space’s ends are framed by permeable glass blocks that face the sea.
The choice of materials for the entire building considered the need for water and moisture resistance on the one hand, and the desire to continue to blend into the surrounding environment with an introverted form on the other. The captain’s house acts as a lighthouse at night, pointing the way home for the captain, who sails away.
A Home within Thirteen Steps/ Limu Design Studio
The project is located on the top floor of an ancient house built in the 1980s in Pudong, Shanghai, where the customer lives with three generations of five people. The house is shaped like a knife handle and is less than 34 square meters in size, with only 13 steps connecting south to north.
The lingering twists and turns of Suzhou garden- Canglang pavilion’s Cuilinglong has the profundity of the diagonal. The designer transformed the entrance, the entrance hall, and the grandparents’ bedroom into a “Cui Ling Long” prototype to extend sight distances. And the three rooms of the living room, entrance hall, and kitchen are connected at the corners to form the second “Cui Ling Long.”
Based on the height of the client’s entire family, a mezzanine was added above the living room to provide a separate space for the children to play. The back wall of the television was built as a rammed earth wall, evoking the Danxia landform of the client’s homeland Zhangye and transporting this family’s homesick.
A Home Fight for Every Millimeter / GOODLINKS Design
The project is located on Shanghai’s Huaihai Zhong Road and comprises two blocks with sloping roofs of varying heights that total only 11 square meters. Two generations and four members of the client’s family reside here. A vertical 90-degree ladder connects with the attic, which is also insufficiently high to stand erect.
The designer’s redesign became necessary due to the limited space, beginning with the partition of functional sections into two blocks, each 5.1 m and 3.1 m high. The 3.1 m block is divided into two floors, the first of which houses the living room and the second of which houses the son’s bedroom. The bedroom bed is 40cm above the floor, which adds height to the living room’s first floor, while the 5.1m block is divided into three levels, with the kitchen, bathroom, and parents’ bedroom, to provide comfort with the height and the interlocking arrangement of functions.
A trapped Home / URBANUS
The project is located on Upper-Mengsheng Street in Guangzhou’s Haizhu District. It is a small 12-meter high three-and-a-half-story building with brick and concrete structure. The single floor area is 22 square meters. This house is surrounded by densely packed housing units and appears to be trapped within a walled city.
The reconstruction reorganizes functional spaces within a relatively tiny dimension. The original steep, single-run stair was replaced by a comfortable double-flight one. The bottom floor receives the maximum amount of light by holes in the floor slab and light buckets on the north and south facades. There are a translucent “pavilion” and an outdoor terrace on the top floor, without any fixed use, providing a blank space for the client to define.
Small pieces of maroon stone with natural grains are decorated on the exterior wall of the house, which blends in with the surrounding neighborhood, and the reconstructed building retains the feeling of “greater hermit does so in the city.”
An Unforgettable Home / Homma Comprehensive Design
The redesign of this project was focused on elderly-oriented design. Permanent occupants of the client’s home are his grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and his parents, who care for her wholeheartedly and are also aging.
At first, the spatial layout was altered. The house’s original layout began with a one-story block and continued across the outside courtyard into another two-story block. The renovation connected the entire strip of space and converted half of the outside courtyard into an indoor room. The space is divided into the form of the walkway and room layout. Different single-function rooms are distributed in a single-sided linear arrangement that facilitates grandmother identification and usage.
Additionally, the designer considered lighting, warmth, and safety. These designs ensure the elderly-oriented design’s comfort and safety.
A Gourmet Home Under Shuangta / Shen Lei, Xie Ke, Lai Xudong, Chen Bin, Sun Huafeng
As if markets belonged only to the previous generation, the Shuangta Market in Suzhou’s ancient city has gradually fallen into disuse in modern life. A team of five designers created the reconstruction to restore Suzhou’s traditional way of life and convey the city’s unique culture.
The reconstruction increased the market’s entrances from three to seven, creating a more open atmosphere. The old facade was demolished and repositioned, creating a gray space for leisure. The fresh food section has been reduced in size and shifted to the north side of the market. On the south side, the food court is tiled in gray to resemble an old Suzhou scene. The food court’s transparent visual experience is enhanced by the placement of triangle stalls around the space.
The Shuangta market logo was inspired by Suzhou numerals, an early Chinese folk commercial number that symbolizes Suzhou’s seal. The color scheme for the market’s poster decoration is based on Taohuawu New-Year pictures.
“A Gourmet Home Under Shuangta” is part of a historic city revival initiative to reintroduce youthful blood to the ancient city’s center. It is both a revival of Suzhou’s traditional culture and a modern manifestation of it.